World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Supreme Court of Iceland

Supreme Court of Iceland
Hæstiréttur Íslands
Established 16 February 1920
Country Iceland
Location Reykjavík
Coordinates
Type Supreme court
Composition method Presidential nomination with Minister of the Interior confirmation
Authorised by Constitution No. 33/1944
Courts Act No. 15/1998
Judge term length Life tenure
Number of positions 9, by statute
Website .ishaestirettur (Icelandic)
President
Currently Markús Sigurbjörnsson
Since 1 January 2012
Lead position ends 31 December 2016
Vice-President
Currently Viðar Már Matthíasson
Since 1 January 2012
Lead position ends 31 December 2016
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Iceland
Constitution

The Supreme Court of Iceland (Icelandic: Hæstiréttur Íslands, lit. Highest Court of Iceland) is the final court of appeal in the judiciary of Iceland. It is also the oldest court of law in Iceland and the higher of the two Icelandic court branches, the other being the District Courts of Iceland.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Court is not mentioned by name in the Constitution of Iceland but only its justices, it is validated in the Courts Act No. 15/1998. The Supreme Court of Iceland is located at the Dómhúsinu (Courthouse) at Arnarhóll in Reykjavík, a building that was specially built for that purpose and that came into use in 1996.

The current President of the Court is Markús Sigurbjörnsson.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Justices 2
  • Procedure 3
  • Building 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

History

The Court was founded under the Supreme Court Act No. 22/1919 and held its first session on 16 February 1920. Previously, the Landsyfirréttur, or National High Court of Iceland, had been the highest domestic court, but a line of appeal had been available to the Supreme Court of Denmark in Copenhagen. The establishment of the Supreme Court moved the final word in Icelandic cases home to Iceland.

The first justices of the Supreme Court were Kristján Jónsson (President), Halldór Daníelsson, Eggert Briem, Lárus H. Bjarnason and Páll Einarsson. The first three men had been the judges of the old National High Court, which had operated throughout the 19th century but was abolished with the founding of the Supreme Court of Iceland in 1920.

Justices

The Court is composed of nine justices appointed by Presidential nomination with Minister of the Interior confirmation and presided over by the President of the Court or the Vice-President in his absence.

The Supreme Court justices elect a President and a Vice-President. The President of the Supreme Court of Iceland manages the affairs of the Court, directs court sessions and divides tasks among the justices and the employees of the Court and maintains disciplinary supervision. He is responsible for the operation and finances of the Court and represents the Court towards the public. Under Article 8 of the Constitution of Iceland the President of the Supreme Court is one of the three holders of the power of the President of Iceland in his absence, the others being the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament.

As of February 2014, the justices of the Supreme Court are:

  • Benedikt Bogason
  • Eiríkur Tómasson
  • Greta Baldursdóttir
  • Helgi Ingólfur Jónsson
  • Markús Sigurbjörnsson (President)
  • Ólafur Börkur Þorvaldsson
  • Páll Hreinsson
  • Viðar Már Matthíasson (Vice-President)
  • Þorgeir Örlygsson

Procedure

The Court operates in two divisions, where either three or five justices sit to hear a case before the Court. For especially important cases, the President of the Court may decide that the bench be constituted by seven justices. When a case is heard by five or seven justices, these shall usually be the most senior justices on the Court. The main rule is that cases are presented orally before the Supreme Court, and the court sessions are generally open to the public. The President of the Supreme Court presides over the session or, in his absence, the Vice-President. If neither of them is hearing the case, the most senior justice in session will preside.

Lawyers appearing before the Court wear black robes with blue lapels, whilst the justices wear distinctive blue robes with black lapels, a custom which reputably began with the suggestion of the first lawyers to appear before the Supreme Court, Eggert Claessen and Sveinn Björnsson (later President of Iceland).

As soon as an oral case presentation is finished, the justices retire for a closed meeting to discuss and vote on the case. One justice will be held responsible for introducing the matter and proposing a solution of the case and he or she will usually write the opinion of the Court. If the views of the reporting justice do not have the support of a majority of the justices, the President will ask another justice to write the Court’s opinion, and the minority justices decide who will write a separate dissenting judgement. Finally, a complete judgement will be prepared, and the justices will sign a single copy which is filed in the Book of Opinions of the Court.

For cases where members of the Cabinet are suspected of criminal behavior, the Landsdómur, which includes the Supreme Court justices, sits instead of the Supreme Court.[1]

Building

After the transfer of power from Denmark, the Court was first housed in the Old Penitentiary Building on Skólavörðustígur in Reykjavík. In 1949 it moved to the former court building on Lindargata. 1993 saw a competition to design a new home for the Court, which was won by Margrét Harðardóttir and Steve Christer of Studio Grandi, Reykjavík. The Icelandic Minister of Justice dug the first spade of ground for the new Courthouse of the Supreme Court of Iceland at Arnarhóll on 15 July 1994, laid the cornerstone of the building on the Court’s 75th anniversary, 16 February 1995, and handed it over to the Court for use on 5 September 1996.

References

  1. ^ "Islands tidligere statsminister stilles for riksrett".  

External links

  • Official website (Icelandic)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.